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Russia's Rusal seeks $400/mt premium from Japanese aluminum buyers for Q2

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Russia's Rusal has told Japanese buyers the company seeks $400/mt premiums for primary aluminum exports to Japan in the second quarter, up from the $255/mt premiums for Q1, Rusal and a Japanese buyer said Thursday.

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This is up from its earlier Q2 premium idea of $370-400/mt plus London Metal Exchange ME cash, CIF Japan, that it told Japanese buyers two weeks ago.

"Now in view of tightening supply, Rusal is seeking $400/mt," a Rusal official said in an email to Platts.

Rusal has forecast that the global aluminum deficit, excluding China, would be 1.4 million mt for 2014.

"While supply will grow by 1.05 million mt, capacity cuts will be over 1.2 million mt. The supply deficit could be significantly higher [compared to previous years] as a large component of any capacity expansions will be in the form of value added products," the official said.

The Japanese import premiums need to be in line with the record-high premiums in Europe and North America, he added.

The Platts US transaction premiums however, have slipped to 19.25 cents/lb plus LME cash, delivered Midwest, on February 25, from the record-high 20.75 cents/lb in late January.

Platts European premiums have been at record highs of $345-360/mt in-warehouse Rotterdam, duty-paid, since February 20.

Japanese traders however, said they did not perceive supply as being tight.

There are new smelters in the Middle East, namely Saudi Arabia's Ma'aden and Emirates Aluminium, increasing supplies, said one trader.

"Output cuts in Australia and South Africa are not happening in Q2. The Boyne smelter will be operating normally in Q2, the Point Henry smelter closure is in August. In my view, premiums should reflect the market, not market forecast," said another trader.

Meanwhile, one another global producer has expressed a Q2 premium idea of $375/mt plus LME cash, CIF Japan, Platts reported earlier.

--Mayumi Watanabe,
--Edited by Irene Tang,